Caterham crowd-funding attracts potential buyer - administrator
Caterham has raised over £1m in an attempt to make the grid at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and its administrators say its crowd-source fundraising has interested a potential buyer.
Caterham went into administration last month and missed the US and Brazilian Grands Prix over the last two weekends. It is attempting to make the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi in order to retain its racing licences, which is its most valuable asset.
On Friday it launched a crowd-source funding drive - selling off old car parts, prizes and merchandise in exchange for funding to go racing in Abu Dhabi - and by Sunday had reached more than 45% of its £2.35m target. Administrator and interim Caterham team principal Finbarr O'Connell said the funding had also attracted new interest from potential investors.
"Everyone involved is incredibly grateful and excited to have raised over £1m of support in less than 48 hours," O'Connell said. "The Caterham F1 Team is almost half way to its funding target. I am not packing my toothbrush as yet though and there is still a lot of fundraising to be done by the team. However, it is clear that this campaign is becoming international and I have been contacted by media organisations from all over the world since Friday.
"Most importantly, a new financially sound interested party has entered the arena and is considering acquiring the team. This new interest is wholly due to this campaign. It will be a very novel moment in Abu Dhabi when the team's supporters will be able to watch the race in the knowledge that they put the Caterham F1 car on the grid."
The Crowdfunding initiative has attracted criticism from Bernie Ecclestone and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, but O'Connell underlined that it is not a long-term plan for the future of the team.
"There has been some confusion with regard to the purpose of the Crowdfunding Project. Clearly, the plan is not to run a F1 team by using Crowdfunding but rather this funding is providing a stepping stone for the team to a new financially sound future. If teams don't race they are at a huge disadvantage as regards a potential purchaser making a very expensive purchase decision and this Project gives the Team the ability to showcase itself and especially its cars.
"I have been very grateful for the support the project has had from F1 thought leaders like Eddie Jordan, a fellow Irishman. Whilst I am also incredibly grateful to Renault and Total for their support of what the team is doing I really want people to focus on the other human engine to this team, being 200 people in Leafield, in the Prime Minister's constituency, who have been working without pay for the last 6 weeks in order to rescue this team. Without them there would be no team and they deserve everybody's support.
"We are working non-stop to get the Caterham F1 Team back racing and one of our most useful, innovative and effective options right now is Crowdfunding. We want to get as many sponsors and fans as possible involved this week and make our comeback something we can all be part of and proud of. This team deserves a future and I know that there are plenty of fans and companies out there that agree with us, so I can't think of a better way to get us all together and show our support to the team than this one, the Caterham F1 Team #RefuelCaterhamF1 project."